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Supply—Civil Service Estimates

Volume 203: debated on Friday 22 July 1870

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SUPPLY— considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(4.) Question again proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £4,046, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Lunacy in Scotland."

said, the Vote represented a gross piece of extravagance. The Vote for England was only £20,000, and for Ireland only £3,800; he could not conceive why Scotland, which in area was but a seventh of England, should want £6,000. If that were a proper sum the expenditure for England should be £42,000, and for Ireland, which had one-and-three-quarters more population than Scotland, £10,500. He moved that the Vote be reduced by £1,500.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £2,546, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Lunacy in Scotland." — (Mr. M'Laren.)

said, he thought the Vote by no means extravagant. To compare usefully the expenditure upon lunatics in England and Ireland with that in Scotland would require a greater knowledge of the details of the subject than either he or the hon. Member possessed. Before the appointment of the Board, 12 years ago, the condition of lunatics in Scotland was worse than that of the same unfortunate class of persons in any other part of the United Kingdom, whereas it was now the best. The present Board had discharged its duties most efficiently in every respect, and to the entire satisfaction of the community. With reference to the conduct of the Government in filling up the vacancy caused by the failure of health of one of the paid Commissioners of Lunacy in Scotland, which had been attacked by the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Craufurd) at an earlier period of the evening, he could assure the House that the subject had received the most careful consideration at the hands of the Government, and they found that the duties of the paid Com- missioners were so arduous that it was impossible that a single individual could discharge them. The Board visited every asylum in Scotland once a year. There were two Commissioners and two sub-Commissioners. The former had each £2,000 a year, and the latter £600; the secretary had £600, and the salaries of the clerks ranged from £90 to £250 a year each. The travelling expenses of the two Commissioners and the two sub-Commissioners amounted to only £1,100, though they had to visit the lunatics boarded in private houses as well as those in the asylums. The late Sir James Clark, so lately as January last, said that a better working Board than that of the Lunacy Commissioners in Scotland could not be, and that distinguished man hoped that nothing would be done to impair its efficiency.

said, the Lord Advocate had not answered the remarks of the hon. Member for Edinburgh. No one said a word against the efficiency of the Board. What his hon. Friend found fault with was the expense as compared with that incurred for a similar object in England. The fact was that in Scotland there was a much larger staff of officials in proportion to the population than in England.

said, he did not go with his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) in his argument founded on the expense as compared with that in England. Travelling in Scotland was a different tiling from travelling in England as regarded expense. Sometimes it took a Commissioner six weeks to make a visitation when the Orkney Islands were included in his journey. What he found fault with was that the Lord Advocate and the Government did not attend to the recommendations of the Camperdown Commission. The present Lord Justice Clerk stated before the Commission that one Commissioner of Lunacy would be sufficient. If the Lord Advocate did not concur in that opinion why had he not attended before the Commission and stated his reasons for dissenting from it?

said, the services rendered by the Lunacy Commission in Scotland had been very valuable. As to the difference in the cost between England and Scotland the establishment charges of a small institution were necessarily relatively larger than the es- tablishment charges of a large one; and while in England the Assistant Commissioners visited a number of lunatics collected together in asylums, in Scotland there were a large number of lunatics scattered very sparsely over wide districts. He had filled up the vacancy caused by the retirement of Dr. Brown from the Lunacy Board, because on inquiry he was satisfied that it was necessary to do so.

Question put, and negatived.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

(5.) £11,703, to complete the sum for Poor Law Commission, Scotland.

said, he wished to know how it was that a lump sum of £10,000 was granted in the Estimates for medical poor relief in Scotland, while in England and Ireland the amount allowed was half the actual expenditure on that account. In Scotland the medical expenditure was upwards of £30,000 a year, of which only £10,000 was supplied by the Treasury; but in England and in Ireland the moiety of the expenses allowed amounted to no less than £150,000.

Vote agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported.

The Clerk, at the Table, informed the House, That Mr. Speaker was prevented by indisposition from resuming the Chair this evening.

Whereupon Mr. Dodson, the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next.

Committee to sit again upon Monday next.